Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have a square table in my dining room. A rustic, extra large square table. 54 inches by 54 inches to be exact. Until last month, I did not sew. Prior to that, dressing my table could be challenging or expensive. Most square table cloths are 52 inches by 52 inches, and difficult to find, so for years I used a pretty shower curtain (70" inches square). Since I didn't sew, my only alternative for table cloths was to order from a restaurant supply catalog or from Williams-Sonoma (expensive and only available in plain white). Skip that.
Tonight as I was web surfing one of my favorite blogs, Nesting Place, I found a link to this adorable table cloth that you can make very inexpensively. You have to look here. It's frugal, simple, and makes a nice statement. I love it!
Monday, November 17, 2008
I like to give credit for the recipes, especially since this one is not my own. I found it at Recipezaar. I have been craving it for weeks, and I am not especially fond of any kind of cooked fruit! I tried to be diligent and respond to a post on our local craigslist.org for free pears being offered before the freeze, but the lady never responded to me. I purchased some pears at a 99 cents/pound price. I did learn a lesson about purchasing something for a specific recipe: hide it! My fruit foragers of the family devoured my pears in one day! I grumbled a little bit when I noticed this, because I had already combined the pineapple with the sugar and lemon juice...no turning back now! I improvised and used apples instead, but the result was still scrumptious!
- 3 lbs fresh pears, peeled,cored,and finely chopped
- 5 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a 6 quart stainless steel kettle combine all ingredients.
- Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally.
- Simmer 40 mins.
- Spoon into sterile jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.
- Wipe jar rims, adjust lids.
- Process in boiling water for 10 mins.
- Makes 7 half pints.
Monday, November 3, 2008
My older son's pants seem to be unable to keep up with the length of his legs, and my youngest son's hand-me-down pants need to be altered to keep up with his waist. So, I pulled out the sewing machine and learned to hem. Still, there have been some clothing expenses this month as the weather changed. They both need shoes, but only because of extreme wear and not for lack of fit, thankfully.
That's just one example of the many wants and needs that seem to be waylaid due to the struggling economy. More than once recently, I've felt more gripey than thankful, thinking that things never seem to go my way and I never really have been able to get ahead.
The mail came today with $25 in an envelope as payment from an in-depth survey that I had taken about television viewing. That $25 came on a week that is 4 days shy of my paycheck, but just in time to pay for my son's music lesson payment due on Wednesday. A $20 payment, I might mention, that had the potential to put a crimp on an already strained budget.
And there's enough left over to buy a gallon of milk :)
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 pound of ground beef (or 1/2 lb ground pork and 1/2 pound ground beef)
3/4 cup cooked rice
6 large or 12 medium cabbage leaves
1 can of tomato soup
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
In a bowl, combine egg, milk , W-sauce, onion, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add meat and cooked rice. Mix well.
Remove center vein of cabbage leaves, keeping each leaf in one piece. Immerse leaves in boiling water for about three minutes or until limp. Drain. Place 1/2 cup of meat mixture on each large leaf or 1/4 meat mixture on each medium leaf. Fold in sides. Starting at unfolded edge, roll up each leaf, making sure that folded edges are included in the roll. Arrange in a 12X7X2 baking dish. Stir together the tomato soup, brown sugar and lemon juice. Pour sauce mixture over cabbage rolls. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/4 hours, basting once or twice with sauce. Makes 6 servings.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday: We had Barbecue Chicken, yellow rice and broccoli-dill-cheese bundles (I don't have a recipe, sorry. I made it up as I went)
Tuesday: London Broil with mashed potatoes and peas
Wednesday: Meatball calzones, raw veggies, apple-grape-walnut salad
Thursday: Roman Soldier Packets (recipe below), spinach salad
Friday: Crockpot Lasagna, lemon pamesan broccoli, salad
(one of Jordan and Tre's new favorites)
1 pound ground chuck or sirloin, shaped into four patties
4 (or 8) frozen hash brown patties
1/2 sliced onion
McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning
cheese, if desired
Friday, July 11, 2008
Lastly, salt is essential to life. Our blood is made up of 0.9% saline, which is why it is given via I.V. infusion to normally increase blood volume in ill patients. God amazingly designed our bodies! Sea salt soaks are recommended for a variety of ailments and wound healing. It is a effective treatment for psoriasis and eczema, and well known for its cleansing properties.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Imagine my excitement to crack open some of those FREE eggs tonight and notice that they were all double yolked eggs. Betcha' never see those from the grocery store!
I am making big plans for my FREE eggs. Currently, I have four loaves of pumpkin-zucchini bread in the oven. The house smells like a farm house, the air laced with pumpkin, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mhmmm.
Tomorrow I will make popovers. If you've never experienced a popover (hollow puffy rolls), you should!
Also, eggs can be whipped up and frozen, defrosted for use in a later recipe. For convenience, I freeze the eggs in two-egg portions.
Yes, this was an egg blessing! They will be put to good use!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I am in the same position again, except that my bread machine is now 15 years old, and I have to wonder if I should just replace the entire unit. I used to see them all the time at thrift stores, or yard sales, but not so much now that I am looking to buy. And I am spoiled. I have a Kitchenaid with a dough hook, and I have the stoneware baking pans. The only problem with that, is that I have to heat up the entire oven to make it the old fashioned way, and I have to be here to babysit the loaf.
So, what should I do? Replace with another machine, or buy a paddle for $20, or just buckle down and do it the old fashioned way?
Or...should I delegate the job to Jordan, who has taken a fancy to bread making?
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday - Chicken and Yellow Rice (made with leftovers), broccoli, garlic bread, fruit cocktail
Tuesday - Spaghetti and tomato sauce with italian sausage, garlic bread, salad
Wednesday - more Spaghetti and tomato sauce (my family loves, loves, loves this!), gelato
Thursday - Gorditas (made with Old El Paso dinner kit)
Friday - Accidental Pie (like Shepherd's Pie, but with cheese), vegetables, applesauce
Saturday - Barbeque sandwiches, shredded taters and cheese, green beans
Of course, there are "fill-ins" with the meals. Homemade bread always seems to make a meal more special. Desserts are occasional here, but still make us feel like we've had a special meal. The Navy Bean Soup is not our favorite meal, but it was actually good with the croutons (oyster crackers from Aldi, lightly toasted in butter and garlic powder). The Gorditas were a pantry item from a Publix BOGO months ago. They need to be used up!
Lunches are either frozen chimichangas, sandwiches, or leftovers.
Breakfasts are easy here from an abundance of cereal or bagel stockpile. When we want a change, I will cook up some eggs and toast or make up some homemade muffins or waffles.
Snacks are either fruits, nuts, yogurt or popsicles.
This week I made homemade yogurt in my crockpot. From that, we had smoothies with fruit that was on the verge of being overripe. I also made Zucchini Pineapple Bread. That was a real high fiber, nutritious treat!
I do have an extra, unexpected $27 that I received for payment for Opinion Outpost surveys that I completed in the past quarter of 2008. With that money, I will have some wiggle room if Publix has an absolutely incredible sale that I can't pass up for things we need and use abundantly. God is good!
This pantry challenge is rather exciting to me, just to see if I really can stay out of the store unnecessarily for a week!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I was in Publix tonight looking for more of those wonderful grape tomatoes that were on sale for $1/pint. When I couldn't find them, I asked the produce manager and he informed me that there was a recall on some tomatoes, so Publix decided to pull the grape tomatoes as a precautionary measure. He also told me that they plan on offering that sale again in the very near future, or I could get a rain check. I'll just wait and enjoy some of my own home-grown, salmonella-free tomatoes in a few weeks.
Here is my recipe for the Black Bean Salsa that was on our salad of several days ago:
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, thoroughly rinsed, and drained
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions (I used red)
- 2 Tbsp chopped picked jalapeno (I throw in a little extra jalapeno pickle juice or vinegar)
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 Tbsp lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar (to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, onions, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, lime juice and olive oil. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Anyway, here's our dinner for tonight, and it was scrumptious.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I decided to try some homemade hamburger buns tonight rather than run out to the store just for buns (which I thought I had in the depths of my freezer). Besides, have you priced hamburger buns lately at regular retail?! $2.39! I tried this recipe, but I used whole wheat flour instead. They were good. My family raved about them. The grilled turkey burgers that went in them, however, were not a big hit. I thought the burgers were good, but my husband prefers beef and my little vegetarian was not happy with tonight's dinner.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- I added 4 1/2 tsp. vital wheat gluten
- Combine the milk, 1 cup of water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let stand until lukewarm (110-115 degrees F). If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour and yeast. Pour in wet ingredients and stir until the dough starts to pull together. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook to mix for about 6 minutes. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let stand until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 12 portions They should be a little larger than a golf ball. Make tight balls out of the dough by pulling the dough tightly around and pinching it at the bottom. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. After the rolls sit for a minute and relax, flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it is 3 to 4 inches wide. You may want to oil your hand first. Set rolls aside until they double in size, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Mix together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water in a cup or small bowl. Brush onto the tops of the rolls. Position 2 oven racks so they are not too close to the top or bottom of the oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the rolls from the oven and return them to different shelves so each one spends a little time on the top. Continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on the top and bottom.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
How to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh
Proper Storage Prevents Spoilage, Saving You Hundreds
-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator and Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away nearly 31.6 million tons of food every year. And a recent University of Arizona study found that the average family tosses 1.28 pounds of food a day, for a total of 470 pounds a year! That's like throwing away $600!
Storing fresh produce is a little more complicated than you might think. If you want to prevent spoilage, certain foods shouldn't be stored together at all, while others that we commonly keep in the fridge should actually be left on the countertop. To keep your produce optimally fresh (and cut down on food waste), use this handy guide.
Countertop Storage Tips
There’s nothing as inviting as a big bowl of crisp apples on the kitchen counter. To keep those apples crisp and all countertop-stored produce fresh, store them out of direct sunlight, either directly on the countertop, in an uncovered bowl, or inside a perforated plastic bag.
Refrigerator Storage Tips
For produce that is best stored in the refrigerator, remember the following guidelines.
- Keep produce in perforated plastic bags in the produce drawer of the refrigerator. (To perforate bags, punch holes in the bag with a sharp object, spacing them about as far apart as the holes you see in supermarket apple bags.)
- Keep fruits and vegetables separate, in different drawers, because ethylene can build up in the fridge, causing spoilage.
- When storing herbs (and interestingly, asparagus, too), snip off the ends, store upright in a glass of water (like flowers in a vase) and cover with a plastic bag.
Use this color-coded key along with the chart below:
- Store unwashed and in a single layer
- Store unwashed and in a plastic bag
- Store in a paper bag
- *Ethylene producers (keep away from other fruits and vegetables)
Store in Refrigerator
Apples (storage >7 days)
Store on Countertop
Apples (storage < 7 days)
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
Onions (away from potatoes)
Potatoes (away from onions)
Ripen on Counter,
*More about Ethylene: Fruits and vegetables give off an odorless, harmless and tasteless gas called ethylene after they're picked. All fruits and vegetables produce it, but some foods produce it in greater quantities. When ethylene-producing foods are kept in close proximity with ethylene-sensitive foods, especially in a confined space (like a bag or drawer), the gas will speed up the ripening process of the other produce. Use this to your advantage if you want to speed up the ripening process of an unripe fruit, for example, by putting an apple in a bag with an unripe avocado. But if you want your already-ripe foods to last longer, remember to keep them away from ethylene-producing foods, as designated in the chart above.
Food is expensive, and most people can't afford to waste it. Print off this handy chart to keep in your kitchen so you can refer to it after every shopping trip. Then you'll be able to follow-through with your good intentions to eat your 5-9 servings a day, instead of letting all of that healthy food go to waste.
Monday, May 19, 2008
We decided to use some of our economic incentive rebate to stockpile some food items, mainly grass-fed beef. So those are actually grocery costs for more than this month, and I have no idea how long a 1/4 side of beef will last us.
Feeding an extra adult in our home has not really impacted our bottom line...or has it? He contributes $100 a month for food, but his renal diet also requires me to purchase specialty items like rice milk (which is pricey), but something I would not normally buy.
Theoretically, I am feeding five adults (myself, my husband, my teenage daughter, my father-in-law, and my 12 year old son who eats double portions of meat) and one child, a vegetarian. That means I am also buying some specialty items for my 7 year old to ensure that he gets enough protein and B12*.
*I also include all supplemental and vitamin items as a grocery cost: cod liver oil, vitamin C, fiber supplements and multivitamins. I don't practice overkill on the vitamins and supplements, because we do eat a very balanced diet. I order from iHerb, which keeps the costs way down. What we do take in the way of supplements actually helps to reduce expenditures in other areas, such as healthcare and prescriptions.
It appears as though I am spending an average of $125-135 per week on groceries, but I'm not sure if that is an accurate picture, or if I am spending less. With my personality, I have a need to know :)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
My reason was this: I got a heads up from I-don't-remember-where that Food Lion had whole chickens on sale for 49 cents/pound. Wow! I hadn't seen that price in a while, so it was worth the trip three miles away for the deal. This was Monday morning, early, when I was the only person awake in my house. That way, I didn't detract from our regular schedule. I entered Food Lion with the intent of purchasing 10-15 chickens. However, when I got back to the meat department I quickly realized that I had stumbled on a jackpot of reduced meat. Now, if you remember the Food Lion meat scandal of the early 90's, you're probably thinking "ew, gross", but I think after that, Food Lion probably became one of the safest places to buy meat because of the scrutiny they received. Anyway, I got so many good bargains to last a while. The reductions were just taken (the date said 4/28, which was yesterday). I got several 5 pound Boston Butt roasts for 87 cents a pound. I got beef ribs, which my family adores. We normally wouldn't eat beef ribs because of the price. I also got a few Chuck Roasts, which can be slow cooked in a way that they are tender and juicy. I will be going back to Food Lion again on another Monday for more meat deals.
Sunday - leftover spaghetti dinner
Monday - Southern Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches in the slow cooker, cucumber salad, pasta salad, Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Tuesday - Lentils and Vegetable Soup, leftover pulled pork sandwiches, Green Leaf Salad
Wednesday - Sticky Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Vegetables, Butter Flake rolls
Thursday - Day Old Bread Casserole (using leftover chicken), rolls, peas
Friday - Pizza night
Saturday night - out of town company = out to eat!
and, now, from the family archives:
Serves: 4This chicken is an absolute family favorite. My family would eat this once per week, but I wait until I get a really, really good deal on whole chickens to keep it special by not serving it so often. Cooked, these resemble those tiny Tyson Rotisserie Chicken, or the expensive rotisserie chickens at the certain Market store. The skin is crisp, the inside is so moist! For my family I make two, so we have a little leftover.
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon white peppers
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole chicken
1 cup chopped onions
Combine all spices (first 8 ingredients) in small bowl.
Rinse chicken, inside & out. Drain well.
Rub spice mixture over skin and the inside of the chicken. Place in a resealable bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to roast, stuff cavity with onions. Place chicken breast-side-up in roasting pan.
Roast, uncovered, at 250°F (that's not a typo...it's really 250°F). Baste occasionally with pan juices or until pan juices start to caramelize on bottom of pan and chicken is golden brown, about 5 hours.
Anything over 225°F is safe as long as the chicken reaches an internel temperature of at least 180 F, which this does, and more for about 5 hours.
Following regular chicken roasting instructions as follows: Pour melted butter over chickens. Place on roasting rack in shallow dish. Roast at 475 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees. Roast an additional 30-45 minutes, or until internal temperature is 180 F.
Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Menu Planning Software from DVO Enterprises.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Free shipping on orders over $60. Save $5 off your first order.
Referral program (and I get 4% in account credit if you order using my account referral code).
You cannot beat iHerb prices. Test me on this, you'll see!
Use code HEL260 .
Monday, April 21, 2008
There has been some discussion on www.moneysavingmom.com about vitamins: to take or not to take, and which one? There are so many to choose from. A lot of them are just junk, loaded with fillers and minerals in a form that your body really can't use optimally. I've never tried the Supermom brand, but they look like a decent supplement. I'm all for green foods like spirulina, alfalfa, algae and sea weeds...just be careful that you do not have allergies to the ingredients before loading up on vitamins. For years I took Nature's Way Alive without Iron, and felt wonderful. I recently stopped because I felt it necessary to start a regimen of Cod Liver Oil and Glucosamine/Chondtroitin/MSM to manage my autoimmune arthritis. Together, it would have been a near toxic dose of vitamin A. After 6 weeks on this regimen, I feel much improved. My knees don't grind, my shoulder has a normal range of motion, and my thumbs never get locked up any more. I cannot praise those little cod enough, they have made a vast difference in the health of my family! I have had to switch to a more palatable capsule, but my husband will finish off my bottle of lemon-lime liquid oil.
You might want to consider cod liver oil, too, if you are seeking a remedy or management for any of the following: high triglycerides, migraines, depression, secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease or stones, and also for inflammatory conditions such as asthma, gingivitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. To read about the merits of cod liver oil, click here.
For more information from a favorite source regarding health-related issues, click here.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
- TOMATOES – cooked, they are rich in the antioxidant lycopene
- OLIVE OIL
- RED GRAPES
- NUTS - full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- WHOLE GRAINS (fiber!)
- FISH (or fish oils, as my case may be. I cannot find a decent, mild fish in this area!)
- BERRIES (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, any berries!)
- SPINACH (we like this raw, but we'll eat it steamed also)
- ORANGES (rich in folic acid, and vitamin C) this week, we'll be doing lots of lemons!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Lemon juice is one of the best detoxifying agents/cleansing agents ever known to man. The vitamin C in lemons is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are necessary to rid the body of damage caused by free radicals.
Lemon juice can resolve nausea, as well as cure heartburn when mixed with hot water.
Lemon scent is a good "pick-me-upper".
For more on the benefits of lemons, click here.
Tonight, while shopping for a new set of salt and pepper shakers in Bed, Bath & Beyond, I came across this nifty gadget. Had to have it (extremely rare impulse buy), and I'm happy I did! The price on the gadget was $9.99, but it rung up as $19.99. They ALL said $9.99, which was a misprice, so the store gave it to me for that price. Then, I pulled out my nifty 20% off any item coupon, for a final price of $7.99! That may seem like a splurge, but we go through so many lemons during the summer, it really was a bargain! This will be a real time saver! Why didn't I know about this before? Culinary life begins at 41, I guess!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Another cost saving measure that we may have to take will be utilizing one meatless dinner recipe per week during produce season. Main dish salads are pretty popular in my house, and we already do lots of those for lunch.
It would seem strange to our generation to have to so drastically reduce our food budget. What would you do if the cost of milk rose to $7/gallon, a loaf of bread to $4? The days of government imposed rationing are in our very recent history. My mother remembers government imposed rations. She was born in 1943. My father-in-law was born on October 22, 1929, exactly one week before the stock market crash of 1929, which furthered the damage inflicted by The Great Depression. He remembers the latter part of decade long scarcity, and has spent the last 70 years preparing for another collapse.
I am not an alarmist, but I do feel the squeeze. I thank God for His provision, but I also feel that stewardship is my responsibility. I am so thankful for a group of Godly women who have been my mentors throughout this learning season.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Here are our three priorities: (1) relationships (2) worship (3) work . My project for the week is to write down everything that I have to do in the course of the week and to analyze if I am living according to these priorities. I can tell you, I don't think that I am...and I want to! How about you?
Take some time to prayerfully consider your schedules. What works, what doesn't? Why? Are you joyful?
Perpetually striving to be the Proverbs 31 woman...that's me!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I found this at Publix this weekend: Chlorine-free bleach. Active ingredient? Hydrogen peroxide, citric acid and water, which breaks down into harmless oxygen and water. Does it work? Yes.
I paid $1.50 for mine, works great on stains!
I was never too impressed with vinegar as a glass cleaner, but I like the idea of natural.
Monday, April 7, 2008
You can pull back the husk (but not remove it!), remove the silk, place the husk back around the ear of corn, microwave for 2 1/2 minutes for one ear, 5 minutes for two ears, 7 1/2 minutes for three ears, etc.
Or, if you do not own a microwave or have reservations about microwaving your food, you can cook it in the crockpot:
Remove husk and silk from the ears of corn, place in your crockpot, cover with warm water, and cook on high for 2 hours.
Did I mention how much I love my crockpot?